International Entrepreneur Parole (IER) is now in force – for what it’s worth
The current administration’s attempts to have the International Entrepreneur Rule (IER) delayed and ultimately scrapped – it was introduced by President Obama in August 2016 –was rejected by the US District Court, District of Columbia on December 1, 2017. The apparent victory for investors and foreign entrepreneurs may well be a pyrrhic one, considering United States Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) own website message on the topic, posted in March 2018: While DHS complies with the court order and implements the IER parole program, DHS is also in the final stages of publishing a notice of proposed rulemaking seeking to remove the IER.(https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/humanitarian-parole/international-entrepreneur-parole).
By letter of April 4, 2018 to Senator Charles Grassley, USCIS stated that: Due to the court order which invalidated the IER delay rule, the International Entrepreneur Final Rule is now in effect. We have not approved any parole requests under the International Entrepreneur Final Rule at this time.(https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/2018-04-04%20USCIS%20to%20CEG%20-%20Buy%20America,%20Hire%20America%20update.pdf).
Suffice to say, we won’t be advising any of our clients to waste their time and money pursuing IER ‘at this time’ though we remain vigilant for any positive signs on IER’s future and will let everyone know if/as soon as we can safely report that it’s a real option. If you’re skeptical, you may want to skip to the next article.
The International Entrepreneur Rule offers “parole” to international investors who partner with American investors to create new businesses providing significant public benefit through the creation of new jobs and businesses in the U.S. To qualify, international entrepreneurs:
must have established a U.S. start-up business within five years before the application for parole;
must hold an ownership interest in the startup of at least 10 percent;
must play an active and central role in the operations of the business, and not merely be an investor; and
The start-up must have received a capital investment of at least $250,000 from qualified U.S. investors or at least $100,000 in grants or awards from qualifying U.S. federal, state or local government entities. International entrepreneurs who only partially satisfy the funding criteria would need to provide additional compelling evidence of the start-up’s substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation.
Under the proposed rule, a qualified international entrepreneur would be granted a 30-month period of stay, with the option to renew their status for an additional 30 months, if the following criteria are met:
No more than three entrepreneurs may be granted parole per start-up entity and spouses of qualifying entrepreneurs may apply for work authorization. Moreover, the U.S. government retains the right to revoke the international investor’s parole if the business ceases to operate or be of benefit to the U.S. Entrepreneurs currently in the U.S. in a different visa category may apply for parole but, if approved, must leave the U.S. and request to be paroled on re-entry as it’s not possible to change status from another non-immigrant category to parole while remaining in the U.S. One downside is that the entrepreneur will be limited to working with the startup in question which, in reality, may have a stalling effect on innovation as in reality, entrepreneurs very often identify and create new opportunities wherever they happen to be.